'Spy Kids': Where Are They Now?
On March 30, 2001, Spy Kids arrived in theaters, starring Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, and Daryl Sabara as members of the bad guy-fighting Cortez family. Released 15 years ago Wednesday, the Robert Rodriguez film made $112.7 million at the domestic box office. In honor of Spy Kids‘ anniversary, see the movie’s stars then and now, ahead.
Antonio Banderas (Gregorio Cortez)
THEN: After making a name for himself in Philadelphia (1993) and Interview with the Vampire (1994), and with Oscar-nominated roles in Evita (1996) and The Mask of Zorro (1998), Antonio Banderas signed on to play Gregorio Cortez in Spy Kids. The celebrated actor played the father of the Cortez family, a spy with some seriously cool technology who is married to his former spy rival, Ingrid Cortez (Carla Gugino).
NOW: Seeing box office success with Spy Kids, Banderas reprised his role of Gregorio in Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams the following year and in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over in 2003, the same year he picked up Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his gig in And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself. He continued his family-friendly work with a voice gig as Puss In Boots in Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010), and returned to another earlier role when he hit the big screen in 2005’s The Legend of Zorro. In recent years, Banderas continued to add to his filmography with roles in Machete Kills (2013), The Expendables 3 (2014), and Knight of Cups (2015).
Carla Gugino (Ingrid Cortez)
THEN: Carla Gugino joined Spy Kids as Ingrid Cortez, the cunning spy who marries fellow spy Gregorio Cortez (Antonio Banderas). Gugino, who made her first big-screen appearance in 1989’s Troop Beverly Hills, rose to fame thanks to her TV work, which includes ’90s roles in Falcon Crest, Doogie Howser, M.D., The Buccaneers, and Spin City.
NOW: Gugino continued to play Ingrid for Spy Kids‘ two sequels, and reunited with director Robert Rodriguez in 2005’s Sin City. She went on to appear in Night at the Museum (2006), American Gangster (2007), Righteous Kill (2008), and lent her voice to Man of Steel in 2013. Gugino returned to television in recent years with a 12-episode arc as Amanda on Entourage, a 2011 stint on Californication as Abby, and 2015 appearances in The Brink and Wayward Pines.
Alexa PenaVega (Carmen Cortez)
THEN: Just 12 years old at the time of Spy Kids‘ release, Alexa PenaVega (then known as Alexa Vega) played Carmen Cortez. The oldest child of Ingrid and Gregorio, Carmen tries to take care of her little brother Juni (Daryl Sabara), no matter how annoying he may be. The child star began acting a young age, appearing in episodes of Evening Shade when she was 5 years old and going on to book roles in Little Giants (1994), Twister (1996), and episodes of Life’s Work and To Have & to Hold.
NOW: The same year that Spy Kids hit theaters, Vega wrapped her run on Ladies Man, going on to reprise the role of Carmen in both sequels. She added to her filmography with Sleepover (2004), the short-lived 2009 ABC Family series Ruby & The Rockits, and the 2012 Lifetime movie The Pregnancy Project. The former child star married Carlos Pena in 2014, inspiring her name change to Alexa PenaVega, and recently competed on the 21st season of Dancing with the Stars and played Kiley on Nashville.
Daryl Sabara (Juni Cortez)
THEN: A young Daryl Sabara landed one of his first roles as Juni Cortez in Spy Kids. Before playing the younger child of Gregorio and Ingrid and the little brother to Carmen, Sabara gained experience with a three-episode arc on Murphy Brown in 1992 and appearances in Roswell and Will & Grace.
NOW: Sabara returned to Juni for the sequels, and expanded his résumé in the 2000s with appearances in Friends, The Polar Express, and Criminal Minds. Sabara saw success on the small screen in recent years, holding multi-episode arcs on Weeds, Resident Advisors, and Ultimate Spider-Man.
Alan Cumming (Fegan Floop)
THEN: Alan Cumming lent his star-power to Spy Kids as Fegan Floop. He plays the villainous Floop, a TV star who builds out his army in particularly devious ways. With nearly 30 years of experience to his name when the movie arrived in theaters, Cumming had previously appeared in various stage productions as well as on-screen projects including GoldenEye (1995), Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997), Eyes Wide Shut (1999), and Get Carter (2000).
NOW: Cumming, who played Floop twice more in the sequels, appeared in Josie and the Pussycats and an episode of Sex and the City the same year. He hit the small screen in mid-2000s episodes of Shoebox Zoo, The L Word, and Robot Chicken, and picked up his Emmy-nominated role of The Good Wife‘s Eli Gold in 2010.
George Clooney (Devlin)
THEN: The same year that he starred in Ocean’s Eleven, George Clooney played Devlin in Spy Kids. The leading man found his role in the family-friendly flick as the leader of the OSS agency who calls on Gregorio and Ingrid to complete a mission. Clooney signed on for the gig after wrapping his run on ER, and picking up credits for The Facts of Life and Roseanne in the ’80s, Batman and Robin, Bodies of Evidence, Three Kings, Sisters, and One Fine Day in the ’90s and The Perfect Storm and O Brother, Where Art Thou? in 2000.
NOW: Clooney’s career only grew from there. After returning to Devlin for Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and appearing in Intolerable Cruelty and Ocean’s Twelve in the early 2000s, he picked up his first Oscar nomination for 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck. He then won Best Supporting Actor Oscar for Syriana and picked up four more Academy Award nominations for Michael Clayton (2007), Up in the Air (2009), The Ides of March (2011), and The Descendants (2011) before winning Best Picture for his contributions to 2012’s Argo and starring in the 2013 box office smash Gravity.
Teri Hatcher (Ms. Gradenko)
THEN: Fresh off of her Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman days, Teri Hatcher picked up a gig as Ms. Gradenko in Spy Kids. The MacGyver alum played a villain masquerading as a hero for the Cortez children, revealing her true colors as the movie continues.
NOW: Soon after Spy Kids arrived in theaters, Hatcher landed one of her biggest roles, playing Susan on Desperate Housewives from 2004 to 2012. The former NFL cheerleader earned a Golden Globe award and Emmy nomination for the role, also lending her voice to Coraline during that time and making an appearance in an episode of Smallville. In recent years, Hatcher had a 2012 arc on Jane by Design and booked a voice role in Jake and the Never Land Pirates.
Cheech Marin (Felix Gumm)
THEN: Cheech Marin joined Spy Kids as Felix Gumm, a rare good guy for the Cortez family. He plays the “uncle” to Juni and Carmen, an agent who is actually there to help protect the family. Marin came into the PG gig after spending years as a part of Cheech & Chong, and expanding his résumé with roles in Echo Park (1986), Born in East L.A. (1987), Ghostbusters II (1989), The Lion King (1994), Desperado (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), and Tin Cup (1996).
NOW: The same year that Spy Kids arrived in theaters, Marin wrapped his five-year run on Nash Bridges. He went on to play Felix in two Spy Kids sequels, also reprising his role of Banzai for 2004’s The Lion King 1 1/2. He returned to the small screen for an extended arc on Judging Amy in the mid-2000s, lent his voice to Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011), and made appearances in Race to Witch Mountain (2009), Machete (2010), and 2015 episodes of Jane the Virgin.
Danny Trejo (Machete)
THEN: Already with dozens of credits to his name, Danny Trejo signed on for 2001’s Spy Kids as Machete. The prolific actor played the uncle to Juni and Carmen, who reluctantly gets involved in the drama to save his family. Trejo took on the role after making previous appearances in The Hidden (1987), Lock Up (1989), Femme Fatale (1991), Heat (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Con Air (1997), and Point Blank (1998).
NOW: Trejo’s Spy Kids role was an important one, as the star went on to play Machete in 2007’s Grindhouse and Planet Terror, 2010’s Machete, 2013’s Machete Kills, and three Spy Kids sequels, and is rumored to get another Machete film in the supposedly forthcoming Machete Kills Again in Space. During this time, Trejo also hit the big screen in Bubble Boy (2001), xXx (2002), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004), Valley of Angels (2008), Predators (2010), and appeared in episodes of Sons of Anarchy.
Tony Shalhoub (Alexander Minion)
THEN: Tony Shalhoub appeared as the menacing Alexander Minion in Spy Kids. Working for Floop, Minion does his bidding in an attempt to acquire the third brain. Shalhoub picked up the project after making a name for himself as Antonio on Wings, and appearing in Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Addams Family Values (1993), I.Q. (1994), Big Night (1996), Men in Black (1997), Primary Colors (1998), and Galaxy Quest (1999).
NOW: The year after Spy Kids hit theaters, Shalhoub landed his biggest role, playing Adrian Monk on Monk for seven years. In addition to his return to the Spy Kids sequels, Shalhoub also picked up credits for Men in Black II (2002), Cars (2006), How Do You Know (2010), Cars 2 (2011), Pain & Gain (2013) and Nurse Jackie.